Monday, January 11, 2010
Talakadu: Concentric Bends in River Kaveri.
It is but natural that during the prolonged course of linguistic and socio-cultural evolution of a region a number of words may simply have been expelled from the memory of the surviving people. However, several antique place names have preserved such vestiges of heritage faithfully for the benefit of posterity.
Some of the words have several meanings. This feature may be the result of accumulation of similar sounding cognate words derived from diverse cultural and lingual sources. And on account of the clashes among the cultural components in a region, some of the words having a specific meaning and originated from defeated people eventually may simply fall into oblivion.
We shall review one such word: tala.
The Dravidian word ‘tala’ has the following set of surviving meanings: 1. Head. 2. Bottom level or planar level. Of these, the first word tala/tale/tare (=head, hair) is Dravidian in origin; the second word, talā(=level, ground) is of Pāli and Prakrit origin.Apparently,the word 'tala' later also became root for the Sanskrit word: 'stala'(=the place).
Regarding the word 'tala'(=level),it is interesting that the Hindu mythology describes seven notional nether worlds below Earth: Atala, Kutala, Vitala, Mahatala, Rasatala, Bhutala and Patala .
There are numerous village names in southern India that have a prefix of ‘Tala’ such as Talapadi, Talamoger, Talachiri, Talakaveri, Talakadu, Talaimannar, Tālipadi, Tāliparmba, Tālguppa, Tālgunda, Tālikote, etc. In these words the application of the above cited meanings (head, bottom, level etc) may be just meaningless! Or you may presume that words with ‘tāli’ as prefix refer to ‘tāle’ or the toddy (palmyra) palm. But in some of these villages ‘palmyra’ toddy trees may not be of common occurrence.
So, what is the original intended meaning in these ‘tala’ or ‘tāla’ villages?
The place name Nainitāl offers us important clue to the analysis of ‘tala’ village names. Nainital, located in Uttaranchal state of northern India, means ‘nayani’ (=eye) +’tāl’ (=lake) or eye shaped lake. There are several such –tals in the Uttaranchal region like Kedartāl . Similarly, Tāal is a town in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh. It is located on the bank of a pond, now dried up.Further examples are: Agartala town in northeastern India.Taloja near Panvel in Raigad District, Maharashtra.
In several languages of the north such as Nepali, Punjabi, Bihari, Gujrathi, Marathi, Kumauni, Malvi, ‘talā or ‘tal’ means a small pond. In archaic Tamil, ‘talla’ means swamp. The tal> talla conversion is probably influenced by the analogous word ‘palla’. Similarly, in Sinhali language, ‘talā ‘apparently means sea shore.
The origin of the word probably is:
ta + ala= bank of water-body. Or land beside stream or pond; bank of a riverulet or a pond. In northern India, ‘tāl’ refers to a pond, whereas in southern India, mostly it represents a small stream. This change is possibly due to analogy with another related Tulu word, ‘tār’, which exclusively means a stream or streamlet. [tāl > tār]. The Tulu words tār (=rivulet) and tāri(=toddy palm) were possibly derived from older Munda sources.
TalakāDu is a famous historical place near Mysore, in Karnataka. River Kaveri attains an odd serpentine loop near Talakādu. The area has massive deposits of sands on the windward side of river.
Kannada Kings of Western Ganga dynasty ruled this place during the period from ca 350 to 999 CE. Subsequently it was ruled successively by Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Mysore Odeyar Kings. In the year ca.1610 CE, during the reign of Odeyars, River Kaveri was flooded and the Talakādu town was buried under massive cover of sand deposits and the adjacent village of Mālangi was submerged. People believed that this resulted from the curse of one pious lady called Alamelamma on Odeyars and the royal town of Talakadu.
According to local legends the name ‘Talakadu’ is derived from the name of two ancient hunters ‘Tala’ and ‘Kada’. However, it appears the place name originally referred to the forest growth on the river bank. [‘tala’=river bank +’kāDu’ =forest].
The point of origin of River Kaveri, in Kodagu district is called Tala-kaveri. Tal here means a streamlet. River Kaveri begins its course as a minor streamlet. A small pond is also built around the spring at Bhāgamandala, where the river is believed to take origin.
Talaghattapura (tala+ ghatta+ pura) is a location near the southern boundary of Bangalore city, on the way to Kanakapura.The elevated area (‘ghatta’) is presently located on the bank of a pond. It was formerly part of a river which dried up later.
There are at least two Talapadi village /hamlets in Mangalore taluk. 1. The small stream on the Kerala border. 2. A small stream joining River Nethravati, near the BC road. In these place names ‘pādi’ represent hamlet on the bank of streams. Besides, there are some TālipāDi village/ hamlets in the Karavali. In most of these place names, the word ‘tāli/tāLi’ is used as synonymous with another Tulu equivalent word ‘tār’, a streamlet. The palmyra toddy palm known as ‘tāri’ in Tulu and ‘tāLe’ in Kannada, usually occurs in riverside locations. It is possible that the word originated from tār or tāL.
Another hamlet on the southern bank of Netravathi, Talamogaru (tala=river bank+ mogaru=plains) is a part of Sajipa-padu village, in southern Bantval tauk.
Kadtala, the place name refers to the ferry point (‘kaDa’) across the tala (stream).
Nadsāl is hamlet that possibly derived its name from a stream that flows in the middle of the expansive field in Padubidri. The word ‘naDu means middle, and sāl, appears to be a variant of tāl, [tāl.>sāl].
Remnants of Buddhism
The word ‘tala’(= bank, lake edge) apparently was brought by the immigrants from the North. It might have been brought by Buddhist monks. During the early centuries of the Common Era, the influence of Buddhism was in full swing all over southern India and in Srilanka. Thus, early Tamil as well as Sinhali accepted and adopted the word. However, in regions where the Buddhism was driven off eventually like Tulunadu, Karnataka and Tamilnadu the original meaning of the word was lost, even though the word survives in older place names!
Talakadu: Ancient Temple of Ganga period uncovered from the massive Sand heaps.
-with Hosabettu Vishwanath.
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